Andrew Friedman joined Rick Stroud and Marc Topkin on 620-WDAE yesterday morning, and dropped a bit of a bombshell with regards to the return of Evan Longoria.

Friedman still sounds optimistic that Longo will return at some point. But, for the first time, he admits it is possible that Longoria won’t. And even if Longoria returns this season, he won’t be 100% until the off-season.

Here is the key passage (emphasis is ours, although Friedman did stress the “if/when” parts). You can listen to the entire interview at 620WDAE.com

“It is something that we don’t have a great answer to what’s going on. It’s not a bone that you can take an x-ray of and know we are x-amount of weeks out. It’s such a feel thing. And we’re getting to the point where we are going to start increasing activity and seeing how it goes. But even if/when he goes on a rehab assignment. Even if/when he comes back. And whether we are fortunate enough to do it earlier in the DH role. Or whether it takes a little bit longer to come back and play third. It is something that we are never going to feel incredibly confident about, I don’t think, until the end of the year. He’s going to play through some pain. And so, I think it is something that is going to take until the off-season to really address.”

Recently, I projected that Longoria might not be back until September, and some thought that was overly pessimistic, and others thought I was being overly optimistic. I still think there is a good chance we will see Longo at DH, as Friedman mentioned, in September, as long as the Rays are still in the Wild Card hunt.

But if the Rays fall 6-7 games back, look for the team to shut the star third baseman down. Remember, this year’s pennant race is different from last year. Even if the lead is less, there will be more teams to contend with, and not all of them are going to have bad Septembers.

 
 

23 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Has any player lost 5/6ths if a season to a hamstring injury before? I just can’t recall that ever happening.

    Rays should claim Dwayne Wise on waivers if he comes through. Move Zobrist to infield full time; dump Conrad-Matsui for Fuld and Wise and the team is slightly better.

  2. Jay says:

    Damn. Evan’s return has been the one thing that many Rays fans have placed their hope in sparking more consistent play.

    This would certainly change that attitude and justify the Club becoming sellers. Do we dare ask just how bad his injury is, knowing their ultra-ultra conservative track record with injuries?

    Is it also time to ask what exactly we have with Evan as the franchise? Your cornerstone can’t miss chunks of the season every year at his young age. What will his body be like at 32?

  3. KT says:

    Cork, I read an user comment that was likely in jest on some other site, that said Evan was “holding out for a better contract”. I laughed it off, but it also made me wonder. COULD Evan be dragging this out because he’s upset about his contract?

    • Sarah says:

      No.

      That’s silly.

      Even if he were unhappy with his contract, he’s got to know that the best way to convince the Rays to renegotiate is to have the MVP year he’s always been just short of having, largely thanks to time missed for injuries.

      How does not playing and reinforcing the worry that he’s injury-prone make his team want to pay him more?

      • KT says:

        You’re silly. As I said it was an user comment from another site that I laughed off, BUT- crazier things have happened, especially in this world of overpaid prima donnas in sports.

        So, to answer your question with a question- what if Longoria’s agent had spoken with the Rays about a renegotiation of his contract and it did not go their way? Then Longo gets “hurt” but by now can play through it, the owners know this, but there’s nothing they can do to force him to play.

        Highly unlikely yes, but just playing Devil’s advocate because as others have noted, it seems a but “silly” to miss an entire season because of a hamstring strain, pull or what have you.

        • KT says:

          And let me just clarify real quick. I’m not saying that I believe Longo is a prima donna who would do something like this. Only just questioning weather it’s in the realm of possibility.

        • Raysfan137 says:

          Geez, dude she didn’t call you silly. She said, “That’s silly”. As in the comment you read and reported on here is silly. And I agree with her. Lighten up.

  4. Joe says:

    I just heard it a different way. He said “Evan will have to play through pain”. Friedman knows by now he will not get a 100% healthy Longoria back this year and it wont be until next season until he is finally fully healed but “playing through pain” and “speeding up the activites” as well as Friedman discussing the possibility of him coming back as a DH? He’s coming back, he just wont be in MVP form. He would still be the best hitter on this team probably, maybe Zo and Kepp can beat him there, we’ll see.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Yes, IF/WHEN he comes back, he will have to play with pain. That is the best-case scenario at this point. The worst-case is he doesn’t come back at all.

      • johnw says:

        From my experience pain in the hamstring resulting from a tear is not that bad, it’s the fear that that it could tear again. It took me a couple of years to fully recover. Something that finally helped me was swimming – actually kicking laps.

  5. Thad says:

    Not to mention that “going for” either of the two Wild Card spots is hardly worth it anymore. Prior to this season, the Wild Card spot was on equal footing with the division title and guaranteed every team a fair shot. Now, all you might end up for winning a second Wild Card spot is a cross-country trip to Anaheim to get shut down by Jered Weaver and sent home for the offseason.

    There are many reasons why this incarnation of the Rays is woefully inadequate, but the lack of a dangerous bat in the middle of that lineup (like Longo could have provided) is the biggest reason why this season is up in smoke.

  6. NashVegas Ryan says:

    Like Gus stated, I have never heard of a hamstring injury that wasn’t a complete pull of the bone to take this long to heal. I have even watched the replay of when it happened and he didn’t look to be in terrible pain just uncormatable. It has been a real head scratcher for me. Maybe he will be back to give us another magical moment this year. Maybe like Kirk Gibson in 88′ with the Dodgers. Pinch hit homer to win the World Series. I can dream can’t I. Go Rays!

    • Gus says:

      Whatever happened in Durham that re-injured Longoria needs some kind of real explanation. A teammate bumping into you doesn’t seem like a real story. Who? What (a bump, really?) When? Where (Durham dugout?) How?

      This is one of the 5 biggest stories of the major league season, and it is shrouded in mystery. At the very least, the Rays owe their paying customers some plausible explanation of what happened even if Friedman can’t give a timetable for his return. It is obvious that whatever happened in Durham was not honestly disclosed for whatever reason, and Longo was probably told to be quiet about it. But this is the season the Rays’ best window shuts; they spent $70M on a payroll for a playoff run and Longo’s hamstring will be the biggest reason they don’t make the playoffs (if they don’t).

      Wasting the walk year (for what that is worth) of Upton and potentially Shields is gone. A shame, for sure. But unreal that nobody can get a straight answer.

      • Sarah says:

        I’m not usually a big fan of conspiracy theories, but in this case I’ve got to agree with Gus and Ryan. A young, apparently healthy guy partially tears a hamstring; is healthy enough to participate in various sorts of baseball activities, but for some reason his season is over? Getting “bumped” by another player in Durham makes no sense…I’m also still puzzling over a claim that he can hit and run but just can’t field backhanders. What sort of injury flares up only under that specific a circumstance?

        I’m not surprised that we are treated to a host of rumors such as that repeated above by KT. The explanations for the slow pace of his recovery have been so outlandish that Longoria and the Rays can hardly complain when their fans start to make up explanations of their own.

  7. Dave L says:

    Consider this angle.

    Longo obviously can’t play 3rd now, so lets suppose they decide to play Longo at DH starting this weekend after some AB in Durham.

    What sort of Longo are we really getting? He said right before he went to Durham that the Rays were leaving it entirely up to him when it came to his timetable. Then he obviously re-damaged it however it happened isn’t really important but he did whether it was bumping or horseplay or taking care of the needs of his model GF who cares?

    So what would we get back? A tentative Longo DH-ing? How effective will that be? Does he run like Molina on the basepaths when he gets on base? Does the chances of the Rays making the playoffs and advancing past the one game card really get that much greater? Dont imagine in any scenerio we are getting back a April 2012 on a tear Evan.

    I think the Rays and him sat down and agreed that hey we have four years of control of this guy he’s only 27 so he doesnt have to rush back until this thing has healed.

    Remember this same left hammy gave him problems in 2009 and 2010 and nagged him in 2011 as well. It hasn’t been right for 3 years that we know of.

    Did he mess it up in college too???

    He’s not a 30+ guy on the downside making mega millions, hell he isnt even paid what he’s worth healthy we all know that. He hasn’t reached his peak as a player and is still on a underwhelming rookie contract so I dont blame him or the Rays one bit if they are over cautious. Its his career not mine.

  8. Chris D says:

    What could the Rays get in prospects by sending Longo somewhere by the deadline? If he can DH this year, he’s worth it to some team, right? Load up the minor leagues and play for 3 years from now.

    • Sarah says:

      A GM looking to trade his cost-controlled potential superstar just when said superstar was injured would be fired the next day.

  9. Brianknowsbest says:

    Longo starts rehab tomorrow.

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